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The Subaru Legacy recently benefited from a ground-up redesign. The company maintained the midsize sedan's all-wheel-drive capability and capacious interior while making meaningful improvements in fuel efficiency as well as infotainment and safety technologies. A sleeker, more modern look helps the Legacy turn more heads than before, too.

Of note, buyers who like the Legacy but need more cargo space should check out the mechanically-identical Outback, which Subaru bills as the world's first sport utility wagon.

Recent Changes

For the latest model year, the Legacy gets a new trim level called Sport, Reverse Automatic Braking, and High Beam Assist.


Whereas its predecessor was utilitarian and somewhat homely in its design, the latest Legacy adopts a cleaner design characterized by a handsome hexagonal grille and a streamlined, coupe-like roofline. The changes continue inside, where an elegant, functional dashboard houses a 6.2-inch touchscreen that integrates a high-definition rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, the audio system and Subaru's Starlink infotainment system.

The latter provides access to Aha, which offers tens of thousands of stations of Web-based content like Slacker, MOG and Rhapsody. Starlink can also help keep Subaru owners stay connected to the social network via Facebook and Twitter news feeds in audio. Mid- and high-end models get a larger 7.0-inch display with extras like SMS text messaging capability and iTunes tagging, and both setups offer tablet- and smartphone-inspired swipe and scrolling gesture functionality.

High-quality materials adorn the Legacy's cabin, while passengers both front and rear enjoy stretch-out space. Cargo capacity is also a Legacy strong suite, with a sizable 15 cubic feet of stowage space available in the trunk.

Like all Subaru models except the lightweight BRZ sports car, the Legacy comes standard with all-wheel-drive, which provides a noticeable boost to wet and wintry-weather traction. In years past, the system came with a tradeoff in the form of decreased fuel efficiency, but that isn't the case for the latest Legacy.

Outfitted with its standard 2.5-liter boxer four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, the Legacy is rated at 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. That would be perfectly respectable mileage for a front-wheel-drive midsize sedan, never mind one that drives all four wheels.

More power can be had by choosing the optional 3.6-liter boxer six-cylinder, which churns out 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft. The big six is good for 20/27 mpg.

All Legacys feature a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT).

EyeSight Package

Taking advantage of existing camera-based technologies, Subaru has grouped an entire suite of driver assist systems under the EyeSight moniker for the latest Legacy. For an in-depth explanation of EyeSight, visit our Spotlight On: Subaru EyeSight article.

The EyeSight package includes pre-collision braking assistance, pre-collision throttle management, lane departure and sway warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, a blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert.

Now in its second generation, EyeSight uses two charge-coupled device cameras Subaru developed in house to closely monitor vehicles, pedestrians, traffic lanes and other potential obstacles. Unlike cameras offered on some other vehicles, Subaru placed its EyeSight system above the Legacy's windshield near the rearview mirror.

At speeds below 31 mph, EyeSight can bring a so-equipped Legacy to a complete stop if it detects an impending collision with a pedestrian, bicyclist, vehicle or other obstacle. Above 31 mph, the system can apply the vehicle's brakes to reduce the severity of an impending impact. A novel reverse automatic braking technology that warns the driver if he or she is about to hit an obstacle while backing up, and automatic applies the brakes if necessary.

Subaru recently added color recognition technology to EyeSight, which allows the setup to recognize vehicle brake lights and red traffic lights and automatically brake accordingly.

In addition to that active safety technology, the EyeSight package's adaptive cruise control helps drivers maintain a set distance from other vehicles on a highway. Its lane departure and sway warning systems alert drivers if they unintentionally start to wander within their lane or make their way into another lane.

Trim Level Breakdown

The Legacy is offered five trim levels called 2.5i, 2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, Sport, and 3.6R Limited, respectively.

The entry-level 2.5i comes standard with A/C, cruise control, Starlink Bluetooth connectivity, a 6.2-inch touchscreen, a rear-view camera, automatic headlights and windshield wipers, a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/HD Radio stereo with AUX and USB inputs, and 17-inch steel wheels with hubcaps.

To those features, the 2.5i Premium adds heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, two extra speakers for the sound system, SirusXM satellite radio and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The 2.5i Limited brings leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable front passenger's seat, heated rear seats, imitation matte wood trim, a power rear tailgate, a 12-speaker, 576-watt Harmon Kardon premium stereo, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, a proximity key and 18-inch alloy wheels.

Sport models feature a dark gray front grille, fog lights with gloss black housings, 18-inch wheels, chrome trim, two-tone gray and black cloth upholstery, blue contrast stitching, and carbon fiber-look trim.

The 3.6R mirrors the 2.5i Limited's features but adds the more powerful six-cylinder motor.

Occupant Safety

All Legacy models come standard with dual front, front side, front seat cusion, and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

Options include the aforementioned EyeSight safety suite.

Key Competitors

Those considering the Subaru Legacy are probably looking for the four season capability of all-wheel-drive; the only other mainstream midsize sedan to offer this feature is the smooth-handling Ford Fusion. Front-wheel-drive competitors worth a look include the Mazda Mazda6 and Honda Accord.